My Flip Flopping Mood

I like where I work.  Don’t get me wrong though, if I had the choice I’d rather not have a place to work, more a place to drink beer at the side of my Floridian pool in the lovely sunshine.  But for as long as needs must the current place will do fine.

Having said that, this week I witnessed something that would strike fear and loathing into anyone’s heart.  Whilst doing a nationwide tour of our different offices, we were blessed with some sunshine.  By this I mean there was no snow, and I did not need twelve layers of clothes.  So explain to me why then there were chaps in the office in flip-flops!

Myself and m’colleague (Steve) were delivering some training/a briefing on stuff, and had to continue our flawless delivery whilst confronted with white hairy legs (yep, they had shorts on too) topped off with flip-flops.

Flip flops
Put them away!

I am all for casual attire at work.  Most days jeans are the order of the day, and on these balmy days that touched at least the mid sixties this week, I had a short-sleeved polo shirt on.  I know, crazy right?  But unless there is an abundance of sand or you are in a foreign country, flip-flops are hardly ever acceptable on a male, let alone in the workplace.

Maybe my aversion to these exposed body parts was driven by the exertion of the week’s extensive travelling, and the impending conclusion of this here project I’ve been working on since last September.  As I drove home on Thursday night, I was metaphorically limping up the M6, dreaming of my own bed, and not having to give that same briefing again for a fifteenth time!

I collapsed into the weekend, grateful for its welcoming embrace.  For the first time in ages, it has felt like a weekend too.  This is because Louise’s placement has finished and she is now back in Uni for quite some time.  This means the end to her shift work for now, and she is instead around at home.  This in turn means that now Louise is not working all weekend I don’t have to do all the boring chores that she enjoys so much!

It has been so nice being able to relax a little, and today I have truly done hardly anything.  Louise had the house tidy by the time the weekend started, I haven’t ironed or washed anything (other than myself, and that iron can sting a little), and Louise even made the tea tonight.  Superb.  To add joy to relaxation she also has a cheesecake in the oven as I type.  I do not mean that I have shared my special seed again, I do mean that there is a cake with my name on it cooling in our oven.

So once I’ve done this, I’m taking Oli out and then reconnecting my backside with the chair for the rest of the evening.  Next week, I am not away over night for the first time in about six weeks, and despite the continued stress of the project end, even that is looking like it might turn out alright.

Now don’t worry, you have not stumbled across the wrong blog.  This is indeed a positive post.  Make the most of it.

To add balance, I still don’t have a WDW trip booked, so things could always get better, but such is life.

So this sheep dog won’t walk himself.  I’ll just put my flip-flops on and I’ll be off.


Till the next time…..




The rolling news this week has had the look and feel of a Tom Cruise film.  I’ve been frustratingly busy, so haven’t caught too much of the detail, but Boston has looked like something you might find unbelievable if you saw the film.

I can only try to imagine what it felt like in those suburban towns in which this all unfolded.  Surreal would probably be an understatement.

Despite having to fight the urge to wonder what possesses senior policemen in the US to wear such silly hats, this has been one of those world events that we will all remember for many years I am sure.

Boston Policeman
Where did you get that hat?

Having witnessed a “police incident” on one of our trips to the US, the sheer scale and awesomeness of the fire power deployed in Boston was not too surprising, despite it being to find one 19-year-old.

Of course, we don’t know the full details, and who is to know if these two are the only ones involved or not, and of course the police, FBI and everyone else involved couldn’t know what they are dealing with.  Having seen the US police deploy a tank and SWAT team for a bank raid, I would imagine the resources currently sat in Boston could invade a fairly large country if they so wished.

This week has also shown how different things are now, in terms of reporting these types of events.  Rolling news can be great of course when you want to watch events unfold live, but when you’ve seen the Uncle of these two suspects shout at the press in his weird accent for the seventeenth time this hour, you get the impression that there isn’t actually a lot to report.

Boston suspect's uncle
Shouty shouty noise shout

The other big difference to events like these is of course that every observer can become a news reporter.  We all have cameras in our pockets, handily attached to the internet, and this results in incredible images like this.

Boston bomb victim
Just horrific

I know that this image is disturbing, and I apologise if you find it too much.  If it were me, I would pin this picture on the wall of whatever institution the living suspect is being kept in.  In fact, I’d make him meet this chap and look him in the eye.

Despite all the new developments in rolling news and images captured by observers, I imagine that this tragedy will fall into the same conspiracy theory category of 9/11, where we’ll all be looking at grainy images of weird goings on, and some no doubt will be certain that the two chaps held responsible were only part of a bigger master plan and organisation.  To those killed and injured that will never matter.

Whenever I have to visit London, a tube journey now is never free from a wary glance around the carriage at my fellow passengers.  No matter how hard I try though I just cannot imagine something actually happening like it did one July.  I suppose I should be glad that I can’t!

Apologies for the sombre tone, but it felt wrong to be my usual glib self this week.  The trouble is, every week there is some horror somewhere in the world like this, and I suppose it is only the level to which it is reported that affects the attention we give it.

I’ve added to the attention these idiots have received just by writing about it here, which is both annoying and sad.

Till the next time….


My Buddy Gyles Brandreth

All the kerfuffle over the last few weeks has brought quite a few new readers to these parts, so I sit here staring at the blank page all of a quiver at the extra pressure brought on by these newbies.

My regulars know and tolerate the quality to be expected here, so I merely wish to delay the disappointment of those brought here to read my ramblings.  Here goes…

So last week saw me undertaking “executive travel” once again, with Tuesday in London, an overnight stay in the five-star, sorry I mean 0.5 star Prince of Wales in Marlow, and Wednesday in HQ in the same town.

As I’ve often said, I do appreciate London, in short doses and usually once back on the train with it shrinking into the distance.  My meeting was in Piccadilly Circus, which as usual, saw this simple Northern Lad staring slack-jawed at the twinkly signs and all that stuff we only see on the telly.  I did my best to avoid all eye contact on the tube, and to stand on the correct side of the escalators to avoid being mown down by some swarthy investment banker as he sweeps past on the way to his next bonus.

Like most northerners I assume that the streets of London are strewn with celebrities, and I often spot one or two in those brief few hours in which I enter and retreat SAS like from it’s smoggy grip.

Alas, this time, I only saw Gyles Brandreth.  I was coming up out of the underground at Paddington to catch the train back to Marlow, and he was filming, I assume for The One Show.  No doubt it was a twenty-minute piece on some crucial story such as who invented tin foil or the percentage of the population with a third nipple, as is the norm for The One Show.

Gyles Brandreth
Almost a celeb

I sauntered through shot all casual like, trying to act all blase, like getting on TV is something that happens every day.  Do watch out for me on The One Show as I shall obviously feature heavily.

Our family of course are regulars on it!


The only other times I have appeared on TV were way back in earlier decades.  Whilst working for Nat West, we “volunteered” to work on ITV’s telethon programme at Granada Studios in Manchester, and my legs and shoes appeared briefly on national TV behind Richard and Judy.

The other time was a close shave in more than way, as I was handing a drink to runners in the Bolton Marathon, and having spotted a camera, I risked life, limb and my childhood innocence by dashing through an army of runners to hand Jimmy Saville a drink.  He was very gentle!

As claims to fame go, I suspect there are more impressive ones.  Oh yes, I did also used to work with Howard Donald, from Take That…….’s cousin.  I think I’ll stick with walking past Gyles Brandreth.  Not something I would want as my epitaph or on my gravestone of course, unless someone wants to pay £10 million for my funeral in which case I would have a headstone that wouldn’t look out-of-place in Vegas.

I would never do politics here, but regardless of your views on our recently deceased ex leader, do we really need to spend £10m to put a box of skin and bone into the ground?  I can think of better uses of that cash to be honest.  I need a holiday for a start!

Friday night saw a rare night out for us (minus Rebecca of course who is constantly attached to her Tom).  We went to the cinema, and it was one of those trips to the cinema which was more about having a night out, rather than seeing a particular film.  In the end we decided upon Identity Thief, and it was better than I expected. It was, I thought, going to be another gross out comedy spawned by the Hangovers and Bridesmaids we’ve seen recently, and it was I suppose, but good all the same.

Identity Thief
Better during a sugar coma

The trailers before the film though confirmed that Hollywood is struggling for an original thought, as Hangover III was shown, along with another trailer straight after that for what looked like a Hangover Junior, you know, a bit like S Club Juniors when S Club 7 were starting to implode in a haze of weight loss tablets and in fighting.

I forget what it was called, but basically the similarities leave me hoping that it is actually a spin-off, and not being passed off as a standalone effort.  Don’t get me wrong I’ll be watching Hangover III, and of course Anchor Man 2, but I wonder if we’ve used up all the original ideas in the world.  God knows, I’ve used the same seven gags in ten years of trip reports so I speak from authority.

Anyway, we enjoyed the film, and I went for the double trouble option of Ben & Jerrys and Pick n Mix.  Sugar induced nausea adds to the enjoyment of any film, and when asked to pay for my snacks, it also gave me another better use of that £10 million we’re spending on a funeral!

Till the next time….

PS – Buy my book!

Blissfully brief.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, as I am conscious that I have been very vocal virtually recently, and I need to give you all a break from me.

I will however thank you all again for your encouragement, support, purchases and patience with bad grammar and spelling with *that* book.  I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I thought of doing a book, but what has happened has certainly surpassed it.  Just when I think I’ve seen the last of the purchases, more occur, and my ghasted is flabbered some more.

After the initial flurry of excitement and activity I now need to come up with ways to tackle the longer term push of the book without boring you all to death with constant tweets and posts about it.  Once I’ve finished uploading my corrections that is!!

I have a very busy few weeks at work coming up with a massive project coming to its culmination, and I’m going to be away quite a bit too so it may have to wait until after that.  I have also been giving some thought to what I do next writing wise.  Of course I’d like my next bit of writing to be a trip report, but in the absence of that I may actually bite the bullet and force myself to have an original thought, and write something original and fictional.

We’ll see if that materialises.

So before I go back on my word and let this waffle continue, I shall leave you in peace.  You probably have a book to read don’t you?

Till the next time…..